Stages of Herpes Zoster
The Normal Course of Herpes Zoster SymptomsFor the majority of healthy individuals, this second bout with the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus) is almost always a second triumph of the body's immune system. The herpes zoster attack may last longer than chickenpox and the patient may need medication for pain, but in most cases, the body has the inner resources to fight back. Generally, over time, the symptoms improve. The lesions heal, the pain subsides within three to five weeks, and, for most patients, the blisters leave no scars.
While this is the normal course for most people with symptoms of herpes zoster, it is possible for herpes zoster complications to occur. Probably the most common complication is postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia refers to pain that is present in the affected area for months, or even years, after the herpes zoster rash has healed.
(You can read about postherpetic neuralgia and other possible complications of herpes zoster by visiting the eMedTV article Shingles Complications.)